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New York State Census Research in the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society Library
By Catherine M. Ellard, Assistant Librarian

Introduction

New York State took a mid-decade census every ten years from 1825-1875, then again in 1892, 1905, 1915, and 1925. 1892 is particularly useful because very little of the 1890 federal schedules exist. Not all the schedules survive for each county and each census year. A good guide to what does exist is New York State Census Records, 1790-1925, compiled by Marilyn Douglas and Melinda Yates, Bibliography Bulletin 88 (Albany: State Education Dept., 1981).

The collection at the NYG&B includes all surviving microfilmed New York State census records purchased from several sources. None have been indexed on a statewide basis. Some local genealogical and historical societies have indexed their own areas. More common are published transcripts or abstracts, mainly for individual towns. In addition, and especially for urban areas, maps are available of some places which identify the wards, enumeration or election districts, and assembly districts, which allow a search if an address or neighborhood is known.

The NYG&B Library has a large number of these finding aids available, many of which have been compiled by our members for use by our members. Following is an example of the types of finding aids that are available for different census years and different counties. The Library has a handout available (too long to publish here) which lists every available finding aid we have by census year and county.

Following this is a description of content listing the types of questions asked in the census and the years they were asked. Worth mentioning is the 1925 census which asked for year and place of naturalization. This is a great help when trying to narrow down when and in which court a person applied for citizenship. Also, the 1905, 1915, and 1925 censuses asked the number of years living in the United States. In addition to the population schedules, there were special schedules done for the years 1825-1875. The special schedules are on the same reels as the population schedules. The types of schedules and the years they were done are also included in the contents list following the finding aid examples.

Examples of Finding Aids

1825

[Abstracts of 1825 New York State Census for Some Towns in Jefferson County], Genealogical Journal of Jefferson County, NY [NY Co J356.5]. Alphabetical by surname within town, includes added page numbers. When town spans more than one issue, check all issues, as entries are alphabetized for each part published, not the town as a whole. Adams 2(3), 1990; Alexandria 2(4) 1990 (see below); Antwerp 3(1), 1991; Brownville part 1 3(2) 1991, part 2 4(2) 1992; Champion 4(3) 1992; Ellisburg part 1 6(2) 1994, part 2 6(3) 1994; Henderson 6(4) 1994; Hounsfield part 1 7(1) 1995, part 2 7(3) 1995; and LeRay part 1 8(1) 1996. Also, “1825 Alexandria, New York State Census” Jefferson County Genealogical Journal, 1998.

1835

Oneida County, NY Index to Landowners Census of 1814 and Federal and State Censuses of 1825, 1830, 1835, 1850, 1855, 1860 and 1870 [MICROFILM 34.2, 2 reels]. Names in alphabetical order within town with page numbers. Towns beginning with A-T [Reel 1], U-W [Reel 2]. Does NOT include towns of Forestpoint or Richland.

1845

Transcription of 1845 Census for [Town of] Willett [Cortland County] NY (1935?) [FILE Willett, Cortland Co., NY]. Alphabetical by surname, no page numbers.

1855

New York County 1855 Street Index to Ward Numbers, Boundaries of Wards and Election Districts, List [Addresses] of Polling Places, and Map of Ward Boundaries by B-Ann Moorhouse (1995) [FINDING AIDS (MICROFILM) – Box 2]. First determine address from 1855 New York City directory or other source. Also, New York County 1855 Maps of Wards and Election Districts [FINDING AIDS (MICROFILM) – Box 2]. Also, Census Map of NYC - 1855 [FLAT FILE – MAPS (NY LOCAL #10)]. Also The Children’s Aid Society of New York: An Index to the Federal, State and Local Census Records of Its Lodging Houses, 1855-1925, by Carolee R. Inskeep (Baltimore: Clearfield, 1996) [NY L M314.79 C48]. Only includes one lodging house (p.3).

1865

Kings County 1865 Boundaries of Wards and Election Districts, and List of Enumerators by Ward, by B-Ann Moorhouse [FINDING AIDS (MICROFILM) – Box 2]. First determine address from 1865 Brooklyn city directory or other source, then use ward and district descriptions and enumerators to narrow search.

1875

Wayne County, NY Census Indexes 1850, 1855, 1860, 1865, 1870, 1875, and 1880 [MICROFILM 61.2]. Surnames only, in alphabetical order within town, with page numbers.

1892

[Transcription of] “1892 Census of the Town of Coxsackie [Greene County], 1st Election District,” Greene Genes, 9(1) 1996 [NY Co G830.7]. Names in census order, no page numbers. Indexed.

1905

New York County, 1905-1925 Street Index [For State Censuses] [MICROFILM]. First determine address from 1905 New York City directory or other source. Determine assembly district, election district, and page numbers from index films.*

1915

Queens County, NY 1915 New York State Census Index to Street Addresses [MICROFILM].

First determine address from a Queens County directory (none for 1915 at NYG&BS) or other source. Determine assembly district, election district, and page numbers from index film.

1925

Map of the City of Buffalo, [Erie County] NY, 1925 [New York Local #4 Flat File] shows wards, assembly districts, and election districts for the census. Ward Maps for the Cities of Lackawanna and Tonawanda, [Erie County] NY, 1925 [New York Local #7 Flat File] shows wards, assembly districts, and election districts for the census.

Contents of the State Census

It is well known that the New York State censuses often contain data not found in the Federal census schedules, or not found in the Federal census until many years later. Following is some of the information in the State schedules that researchers may find useful, other than the usual names, ages, etc. Remember that prior to 1855 these censuses only show heads of household with statistics, not the name of every individual.

Population Schedules

Births and Birthplaces

  • Number of births in household within the year—1825, 1835, 1845

  • Number in household born in New York, New England, other states, certain countries—1845

  • County of birth within N.Y. State—1855, 1865, 1875

  • Marriages

  • Number in household within year—1825, 1835, 1845

  • How many times married—1865

  • Deaths

  • Number in household within year—1825, 1835, 1845

  • Relationship to head of family— 1855, 1865, 1875, 1905, 1915, 1925

  • Parent of how many children

    • 1865

    Citizenship

  • Number in household eligible to vote—1825, 1835, 1845

  • Number of male aliens in household—1825, 1835, 1845
  • Native, naturalized or alien—1855, 1865, 1875

  • Citizen or alien—1892, 1905, 1915, 1925

  • Number of years in U.S.—1905, 1915, 1925

  • Place and year of naturalization—1925

  • Education

  • Can read or write—1855, 1865, 1875, 1892, 1905, 1915, 1925

  • Attended school within year, by type of school—1845

  • Employment, usual place of—1865, 1875

  • Military service

  • Number of males subject to militia duty—1825, 1835, 1845

  • Paupers—1825, 1835, 1845

  • Physical or mental handicap—1855, 1865, 1875

  • Residence

  • Owner of land—1855, 1865, 1875

  • Value and type of construction—1855, 1865, 1875

  • Years resident in town or city—1855

  • Usual place of abode for institutional inmates and when admitted—1905, 1915, 1925

  • Special Schedules

    Marriages

  • Without names—1855

  • With names—1865, 1875

  • Deaths

  • Without names—1855

  • With names—1865, 1875

  • In military—1865

  • Officers and enlisted men serving since 1861

    • 1865

    Agriculture

    • 1825, 1835, 1845, 1855, 1865, 1875

    Industry

    • 1825, 1835, 1845, 1855, 1865, 1875

    Miscellaneous data about each district, including places of public worship, newspapers, etc

    • 1855, 1865, 1875

    New York State Census Microfilm in the NYG&BS Library

    Albany 1855, 1865, 1875, 1892, 1905, 1915, 1925

    Allegany 1855, 1865, 1875, 1892, 1905, 1915, 1925

    Bronx1 1915, 1925

    Broome2, 8 1825, 1835, 1845, 1855, 1865, 1875, 1892,

    1905, 1915, 1925

    Cattaraugus 1825, 1835, 1845, 1855, 1865, 1875, 1892, 1905, 1915, 1925

    Cayuga 1855, 1865, 1875, 1915, 1925

    Chautauqua 1825, 1835, 1845, 1855, 1865, 1875, 1892, 1905, 1915, 1925

    Chemung 1855, 1865, 1892, 1905, 1915, 1925

    Chenango 1855, 1865, 1875, 1905, 1915, 1925

    Clinton 1892, 1905, 1915, 1925

    Columbia 1855, 1865, 1875, 1905, 1915, 1925

    Cortland 1825, 1835, 1845, 1855, 1865, 1875, 1892, 1905, 1915, 1925

    Delaware 1855, 1865, 1875, 1892, 1905, 1915, 1925

    Dutchess 1865, 1875, 1892, 1915, 1925

    Erie 1855, 1865, 1875, 1892, 1905, 1915, 1925

    Essex 1855, 1865, 1875, 1892, 1905, 1915, 1925

    Franklin 1875, 1905, 1915, 1925

    Fulton 1845, 1855, 1865, 1875, 1905, 1915, 1925

    Genesee 1875, 1905, 1915, 1925

    Greene 1855, 1865, 1875, 1892, 1915, 1925

    Hamilton 1892, 1905, 1915, 1925

    Herkimer 1825, 1835, 1845, 1855, 1865, 1875, 1892, 1905, 1915, 1925

    Jefferson 1825, 1835, 1855, 1865, 1875, 1905, 1915, 1925

    Kings 1855, 1865, 1875, 1892, 1905, 1915, 1925

    Lewis 1825, 1835, 1855, 1865, 1892, 1905, 1915, 1925

    Livingston 1855, 1865, 1875, 1915, 1925

    Madison 1855, 1865, 1875, 1892, 1905, 1915, 1925

    Monroe 1855, 1865, 1875, 1892, 1905, 1915, 1925

    Montgomery 1855, 1865, 1875, 1892, 1905, 1915, 1925

    Nassau3 1915, 1925

    New York 1855, 1905, 1915, 1925

    Niagara 1855, 1865, 1875, 1892, 1915, 1925

    Oneida4 1835, 1855, 1865, 1875, 1915, 1925

    Onondaga 1855, 1865, 1875, 1892, 1905, 1915, 1925

    Ontario 1855, 1865, 1875, 1892, 1915, 1925

    Orange 1825, 1835, 1845, 1855, 1865, 1875, 1915, 1925

    Orleans 1855, 1865, 1875, 1892, 1905, 1915, 1925

    Oswego 1855, 1865, 1875, 1892, 1905, 1915, 1925

    Otsego 1825, 1855, 1865, 1875, 1892, 1905, 1915, 1925

    Putnam 1915, 1925

    Queens 1892, 1915, 1925

    Rensselaer 1855, 1865, 1875, 1905, 1915, 1925

    Richmond 1835, 1855, 1865, 1875, 1915, 1925

    Rockland5 1855, 1865, 1875, 1892, 1905, 1915, 1925

    St. Lawrence6 1845, 1865, 1905, 1915, 1925

    Saratoga 1855, 1865, 1875, 1892, 1905, 1915, 1925

    Schenectady 1835, 1855, 1865, 1875, 1892, 1905, 1915, 1925

    Schoharie 1825, 1835, 1855, 1865, 1875, 1892, 1905, 1915, 1925

    Schuyler 1855, 1865, 1875, 1915, 1925

    Seneca 1905, 1915, 1925

    Steuben 1825, 1835, 1845, 1855, 1865, 1875, 1892, 1905, 1915, 1925

    Suffolk 1865, 1915, 1925

    Sullivan 1855, 1875, 1915, 1925

    Tioga 1825, 1835, 1855, 1865, 1875, 1892, 1905, 1915, 1925

    Tompkins 1825, 1835, 1865, 1875, 1892, 1905, 1915, 1925

    Ulster 1855, 1865, 1875, 1905, 1915, 1925

    Warren 1855, 1865, 1875, 1892, 1905, 1915, 1925

    Washington 1825, 1835, 1855, 1865, 1875, 1892, 1905, 1915, 1925

    Wayne7 1892, 1905, 1915, 1925

    Westchester 1905, 1915, 1925

    Wyoming 1865, 1875, 1915, 1925

    Yates 1825, 1835, 1845, 1855, 1865, 1875, 1892, 1905, 1915, 1925

    ______________________________

    Endnotes

    1. Bronx County, created 1914, is included in the 1905 census of New York County.

    2. Broome County 1925 film includes county copies of 1820 and 1830 federal censuses. Broome County 1845 has statistical compilations only.

    3. Nassau County, created 1899, is included in the 1892 Queens County census.

    4. Library also has film of Oneida County 1814 assessment roll which has been referred to as a “census.”

    5. Rockland County 1855-1865 film includes county copy of part of 1850 federal census.

    6. St. Lawrence County film for 1845-1865 includes copy of 1815 assessment roll and county copy of 1850 federal census.

    7. Wayne County 1855 is a transcript covering only the towns of Lyons, Marion, Macedon, Ontario, and Palmyra.

    _______________________________

     

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    Last revised 05/17/2006